Cancer cells that leave the primary tumor can seed metastases in distant organs, and it is thought that this is a unidirectional process. Here we show that circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can also colonize their tumors of origin, in a process that we call "tumor self-seeding." Self-seeding of breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma tumors in mice is preferentially mediated by aggressive CTCs, including those with bone, lung, or brain-metastatic tropism. We find that the tumor-derived cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 act as CTC attractants whereas MMP1/collagenase-1 and the actin cytoskeleton component fascin-1 are mediators of CTC infiltration into mammary tumors. We show that self-seeding can accelerate tumor growth, angiogenesis, and stromal recruitment through seed-derived factors including the chemokine CXCL1. Tumor self-seeding could explain the relationships between anaplasia, tumor size, vascularity and prognosis, and local recurrence seeded by disseminated cells following ostensibly complete tumor excision.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.